Hubert Hurkacz vs Jeffrey John Wolf
Time: 4:00 PM IST
Hubert Hurkacz’s performance on clay in 2023 has been less than impressive, with the trend being consistent across all surfaces in the first five months of the year. Although he won the title in Marseille, reached the quarterfinals in Dubai and the round of 16 at the Australian Open, the Polish player has struggled to maintain a consistent form. In his recent clay swing, Hurkacz has been involved in closely contested matches, with five out of six matches going to the deciding set, and at least one tiebreaker in each. Despite his strong serve being an asset in helping him escape challenging situations this year, it hasn’t been as effective on clay, leading to early exits in tournaments like Estoril, Monte Carlo, and Madrid.
During his first appearance in the main draw of the Rome Masters in 2020, the former Miami Masters champion made it to the round of 16. However, in the following two editions of the tournament in 2021 and 2022, he failed to advance past the opening round. On the other hand, Jeffrey John Wolf achieved his first-ever victory on European clay by defeating French lucky loser Hugo Grenier in the opening round of the Rome Masters. Wolf recently played his first-ever main-draw match on European clay in Madrid, where he lost in straight sets in the first round against the in-form Alexander Shevchenko.
Wolf made a remarkable impression last year with outstanding performances against notable opponents such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roberto Bautista Agut in hardcourt Masters events. It will be intriguing to see if he can replicate that level of performance on the clay courts of Rome when he takes on the world’s 15th-ranked player, Hubert Hurkacz. Wolf has yet to face a top-30 player on clay and has played only 22 matches throughout his young career.
Despite his relative inexperience on clay, we expect Wolf to post a stern challenge in this encounter.
Prediction: Back Wolf to win a set